TB (Tuberculosis) : Frequently Asked Questions
March 24, 2021 | Farah Jassawalla

TB (Tuberculosis) : Frequently Asked Questions

Tuberculosis is a disease of the respiratory system. It’s a contagious infection; the main target being the lungs. However, it can also spread to the brain and the rest of the body. The pathogen responsible for spreading the infection is a bacteria called mycobacterium tuberculosis.

What makes this disease dangerous is its mode of transmission. Tuberculosis spreads through tiny droplets released by an infected person. Anyone who inhales those droplets is at risk of developing the symptoms of the disease.

Below is a compilation of the most frequently asked questions about the disease:

1.    What are the symptoms of tuberculosis?

Different people exhibit different symptoms of the disease, depending on the strain of the bacteria and the overall health of a person. However, the most common symptoms of tuberculosis include:

      A persistent cough that last weeks

      Trouble breathing and frequent chest pain

      Losing weight without trying

      Decreased appetite

      Fever and chills

      Coughing up blood


 2.    What is the difference between Latent and Active TB?


Even if the bacteria enters your system, you do not necessarily have to exhibit the symptoms of TB. The deciding factor in whether a person feels sick is the immune system.

In Latent TB, a person is infected by the disease but because the immune system is strong, you do not get sick nor is your illness contagious. However, with active TB, you can get really sick and make others around you sick as well.

 3.    What are the risk factors of Tuberculosis?

There are certain factors that put you at a higher risk of getting infected by TB. These factors include:

Compromised Immune System

A weak immune system does not have the ability to fight off the infection caused by the TB bacteria. Several illnesses such as HIV, diabetes, and malnutrition overburden the body’s immune system, making it more susceptible to Tuberculosis.


Some areas around the globe, especially those with a resistant form of the bacteria increase the risk of getting an active form of TB.

Other factors

Several other factors such as living with people who have TB or working at a hospital that has patients with TB make a person more likely to get infected.

 4.    What are the complications caused by Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis can prove to be fatal if there is a delay in treatment. Some of the common complications caused by the disease include:

      Pain in the joints and back


      Kidney diseases

      Heart disorders


5.    How is Tuberculosis diagnosed?

Most cases of Active Tuberculosis can be diagnosed once you share your symptoms with your doctor. Since latent TB has no symptoms and needs to be treated as well, tests have to be conducted to confirm the diagnosis.

The doctor will check your breathing or ask for an x-ray of your chest as well as to conduct skin and blood tests for confirmation.

 6.    How is Tuberculosis treated?

Treatment for Tuberculosis depends on the type and severity of the disease. All cases of TB are treated with antibiotics, and the duration can be as short as a few weeks or as extensive as several months.

No matter what the type or duration, it is crucial to complete the whole course even if symptoms disappear. Failure to complete the course allows the bacteria to become drug-resistant.

To find out more about Tuberculosis, it is best to consult a medical health professional. Shifa4U allows you to consult doctors from the comfort of your home. Visit Shifa4U today to book your first online appointment.

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Farah Jassawalla

Farah Jassawalla is a graduate of the Lahore School of Economics. She is also a writer, and healthcare enthusiast, having closely observed case studies while working with Lahore's thriving general physicians at their clinics.